Sabaton
The Great War


4.0
excellent

Review

by PsychicChris USER (342 Reviews)
July 29th, 2019 | 13 replies


Release Date: 07/19/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Great War does a good job of reconciling grim themes with Sabaton’s tried and true formula

When Sabaton announced that their ninth album would be based on World War I, I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to pull it off. Mind you, this was not in the sense that they wouldn’t know what they were talking about. On the contrary, the band puts a lot of effort in deciding topics and making sure their lyrics are historically accurate. My concerns were more based on how they deliver their message; the War to End All Wars was a grievous conflict that had no clear winner and saw extensive suffering for all sides involved. Bands like 1914 and even Iron Maiden understand this, but I was worried that Sabaton’s general “triumph over adversity” attitude could clash with or even cheapen the gravity of their chosen theme.

To Sabaton’s credit, The Great War is one of the band’s darkest albums in quite some time. It doesn’t exactly wallow in the depths of despair, but the atmosphere is decidedly somber throughout as songs like “The Attack of the Dead Men” and the title track put a particular haunting twist on some of their hooks. One can still detect that feeling of heroically charging into battle but even some of the upbeat tracks like “Fields of Verdun” are delivered with an intense urgency that highlights the futility in the attempt to do so.

Of course, there are still plenty of upbeat tracks running about. Tracks like “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and “82nd All the Way” are archetypal Sabaton numbers as the signature gravelly vocals deliver valiant choruses over flamboyant guitars, chugging bass, and classic Nightwish-style symphonics, the latter song making for a particularly strong highlight. “The Red Baron” is the biggest curveball in this regard, channeling Uriah Heep in its prominent organ and “Easy Livin’” shuffle. I suppose dogfighting can still be seen through a romanticized lens in contrast to the ghastly vision of life in the trenches.

But while The Great War is easily Sabaton’s most epic sounding album since 2012’s Carolus Rex, part of me feels like they could’ve taken it even further. Songs like “The Future of Warfare” and the garbled “The End of the War to End All Wars” certainly show off a heightened scale, but they still keep to fairly conservative three to four-minute runtimes. I would’ve loved to see a longer song or two with swelling transitions and more climactic transitions, but such a hope is about as feasible as expecting to reach the other side of No Man’s Land.

I can’t expect Sabaton to pull out an equivalent to Iron Maiden’s “Paschendale,” but The Great War does a good job of reconciling grim themes with Sabaton’s tried and true formula. The concept doesn’t feel tacked on as it had on The Art of War and the individual songs are more effective than those on The Last Stand, which is enough to dispel most of my worries of mood whiplash. There are better avenues if you want to explore a dead serious take on the subject matter, but this album is a respectable take that is easily in the top half of the Sabaton discography.

Highlights:
“82nd All the Way”
“The Attack of the Dead Men”
“The Red War”
“Great War”
“Fields of Verdun”

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com



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user ratings (78)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
BekoTuran (4)
The formula is working. This time better....


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2019


13927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Album has its moments, but the band's formula is starting to bore me

Digging: Lor - Edge of Eternity

TheMightyScoop
August 1st 2019


1543 Comments


awful album

Pho3nix
August 7th 2019


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm glad we're getting more WW1 themed concept albums

IronyIsADeadScene
August 16th 2019


283 Comments


Those Once Loyal >>>>> all when it comes to WW1 concept albums.

Though Paschendale by the Irons is a great individual song on the same level.

Maco097
August 18th 2019


3205 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Another pathetic album by Sabaton

stubblesmcgee
September 4th 2019


4 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

you know what you're going to get with Sabaton 9/10 times, but this at least had a handful of interesting songs. they really are starting to cannibalize a lot of their own melodies at this point though.

IronyIsADeadScene
September 18th 2019


283 Comments


They're about the most 3/5 band out there these days. Neither especially good nor bad, just doing what they do.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2019


13927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Fields of Verdun is a good jam, but these guys will never do better than Carolus Rex

IronyIsADeadScene
January 26th 2020


283 Comments


Carolus Rex is definitely their best.

TundraL5Z
May 10th 2020


4212 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this band is so garbage, and by garbage, I mean painfully average

rodrigo90
May 10th 2020


6154 Comments


WHY every single band that writes a song about the falkland wars they write it from the point of view of the British?. ARGH. Ok, Maiden is an exception, but c'mon, make it more neutral to the listener, especially for those in Argentina.

Fun fact: Never wave a British flag in our country.

Pho3nix
May 10th 2020


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't think there's a song on here about the Falklands war though?

rodrigo90
May 10th 2020


6154 Comments


I know there is a song about the war in one of their albums, can't remember which one though.



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